Heavy fog at Chiang Mai Interntional Airport this morning forced cancellations and delays of several flights and stranded hundreds of passengers.
Many flights were forced to circle around for up to 40 minutes, and returned to original airports, while one flight was diverted to other northern airport instead.
The airport returned to normal operations after 9.00am or over an hour and a half when its flight operation was first hit by heavy fog resulting in very poor visibility since 07.20am.
Airport director Group Captain Visoot Chanthana said that the Chiang Mai airport was informed by the Aviation Safety Centre at 07.20am today that visual meteorological condition (VMC) in the airport area was just 500 metres.
This poor visibility forced the airport to switch on its runway lights and all ground operations were ordered to be on standby.
At 07.40am, the control tower reported again that the visual condition was worsened and visibility falling further to below 100 metres.
The deteriorating situation in visual distance forced the airport to halt all operations in the flight area for aircraft safety.
He said eight flights were affected.
They included Nok Air’s Flight DD8300 from Don Mueang was forced to circle 40 minutes before it was diverted to land at Phitsanulok airport instead.
Thai Smile’s Flight WE150 from Don Mueang scheduled to land at 07.40am was forced to fly in circle for 40 minutes and later returned to Don Mueang airport.
Thai AirAsia?s Flight FD3437 from Don Mueang was also forced to return to Don Mueang after a 40-minute circle, while Thai-Viet Jet’s TVJ 602 from Suvarnabhumi scheduled to land in Chiang Mai airport at 08.15am had to circle around, waiting for clear landing.
Thai AirAsia’s Flight AK 854 from Kuala Lumpur scheduled to land at 08.40am was also forced to circle around before landing after 9.00am.
The airport lifted its poor visibility notification at 9.00am after the thick fog was over, and flight operations could resume again.